Mining

Forensic audit to ‘clean up’ ZCDC

TINASHE MAKICHI

The Zimbabwe Consolidated Diamond Company (ZCDC) board has launched a probe into the mining company’s operations as it seeks to bring transparency in the affairs of the State-owned company.

The latest forensic audit comes following the axing of six top ZCDC executives including former chief executive Moris Mpofu.

The executives faced various corruption allegations.

Mpofu has since been cleared of the criminal charges against him.

Business Times heard yesterday that the ZCDC board has since appointed BDO Zimbabwe to carry out the forensic audit of the diamond producer and has begun the process.

ZCDC chairman Killian Ukama confirmed the audit.

“We have appointed BDO Zimbabwe to carry out the forensic audit and this was informed by the need for the board to ascertain the proper and correct standing of the company,” Ukama said.

A well-placed source to the developments said the audit was aimed to cleaning up the organisation following the departure of top executives last year on various corruption allegations.

“We requested the Auditor General (Milded Chiri) to institute a probe at ZCDC, as you are aware the company is a state-owned organisation.

Therefore, the idea was around cleaning up the organisation following the departure of the former executives on various allegations,” said the source.

The state diamond miner is currently under stewardship of Roberto De Pretto who is holding the fort in an acting capacity as the company hunts for a substantive head.

He has been acting CEO since the sacking of Mpofu.

The State in January this year however withdrew before plea charges against Mpofu.

A formal procedure to fill some of the vacancies, specifically for the position of CEO, was started by the board last October.

However, progress has been stalled by the Ministry of Mines amid information the organisation is to be remodelled with the potential to partner foreign industry giants like Alrosa.

Lack of a substantive CEO is believed to be part of the reasons the company is underperforming.

ZCDC was formed in 2015 after the Government consolidated all the diamond mining concessions in Chiadzwa.

ZCDC currently has operations in the Chiadzwa area and in Chimanimani.

It is conducting extensive exploration and evaluation across Zimbabwe in search of Kimberlite pipes which can be mined economically.

The debt ridden state controlled enterprise has been haunted by scandals and under-performance since its formation leading to perennial losses of more than US$50m in the period between April 2015 and May 2016 alone.

According to the AMG Global audit report on the diamond firm, the company has been operating at a loss since its inception in 2015.

Since the end of last year, there have been some changes in the Zimbabwe’s diamond sector.

A Chinese backed company, Anjin, partly-owned by the Zimbabwean National Army, is set to resume mining in the Marange diamond fields following a three-year hiatus, while Russia’s diamond mining giant Alrosa will reportedly complete setting up its office operations.

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